YouTube says it has removed more than 100K videos under new hate speech rules

YouTube says it has removed more than 100K videos under new hate speech rules
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YouTube said Tuesday that it has removed more than 100,000 videos marked as hate speech under the platform's new policy against bigoted and supremacist content.

The video-sharing giant said it removed more than 17,000 channels and 100,000 videos for violating its hate speech policy between April and June — the month in which the policy was instituted — a five-time increase in the number of removals in the first three months of the year.

Google-owned YouTube also said it has removed more than 500 million comments for hate speech, double the amount of removals in the first quarter of the year.

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"The spikes in removal numbers are in part due to the removal of older comments, videos and channels that were previously permitted," YouTube wrote in the post.

Overall in the second quarter of this year, YouTube removed more than 4 million channels — mostly for violating its policies against scams and spam — and more than 9 million videos. 

YouTube emphasized that it is focused on removing harmful or offensive content before it is viewed by any users on the site. According to the post, YouTube's efforts have resulted in an 80 percent reduction in views on content that is later removed for violating the platform's policies. 

YouTube has come under increasing scrutiny from civil rights groups, lawmakers and regulators over the past year for a range of issues including children's privacy and extremist content.

The spike comes after YouTube in June updated its hate speech policies to ban videos that promote extremist ideologies, such as white supremacy or caste superiority, a move that was applauded by critics who have been pushing the website to take more action against hateful content that has proliferated on the platform. 

The policy change also banned content that promotes conspiracies, such as the false claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting never happened. 

In the Tuesday blog post, YouTube referred to the hate speech policy update as a "fundamental shift." 

"We spent months carefully developing the policy and working with our teams to create the necessary trainings and tools required to enforce it," the company wrote. "The policy was launched in early June, and as our teams review and remove more content in line with the new policy, our machine detection will improve in tandem."